Traditionally, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World included the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Petra in Jordan
Unfortunately for modern travelers, only the Great Pyramid still exists. There are, however, other artistic and architectural wonders predating Christ. Consider the following ten sites:
Located on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi is the most sacred of India’s seven holy cities. According to legend, it was founded by the god Shiva. Varanasi is also one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities; parts of it are nearly 4,000 years old!
Tikal, located in Guatemala, is the largest Mayan city so far found. People may have settled in it as early as the 9th Century BC, and they built the first pyramids about five or six centuries later. At its peak, maybe 90,000 people lived in Tikal.
8. Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a rectangular plaza surrounded by ruins of important government buildings. Some of the buildings like the Regia, where the early kings had lived, date back to the 8th Century BC. The Cloaca Maxima, one of the world’s first sewer systems, was built around 600 BC.
Roman Forum, Rome
7. Derinkuyu Underground City
The underground city of Derinkuyu is the largest known subterranean settlement in Turkey; it could have housed 20,000 people, plus their livestock. The oldest sections were built during the 8th and 7th Centuries BC.
Derinkuyu Underground City, Turkey
6. Banaue Rice Terraces
The Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines are sometimes described as the “8th Wonder of the World.” They are cut into mountains, and they are roughly 2,000 years old. People plant rice and other crops in the terraces and use an irrigation system to water them.
Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines
5. Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis is a citadel located above Athens that contains the ruins of several buildings, including the Parthenon. Much of the Acropolis was constructed during the time of Pericles (~495 -429 BC).
Acropolis of Athens, Greece
Petra is a city in Jordan that might date back as far as the 5th Century BC. It is sometimes also called the “Rose City” for the color of the stone out of which it was carved. Petra is a famous example of rock-cut architecture in which people create structures by carving out rock from a natural site.
3. Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China, Beijing, China
The Great Wall of China is the longest structure on Earth with a length of 3945 miles or 6350 kilometers. Parts of it were built in the 7th Century BC. It runs from the east to the west and was constructed to protect the Chinese from barbarian raiders.
The Great Wall of China
Located in Wiltshire, England, Stonehenge has been on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites since 1986. Archaeologists believe parts of it date back as far as 3000 BC. Each of the standing stones is around 13 feet tall and weighed 25 tons.
1. Great Pyramid of Giza
Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
Ironically, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was built around 2600 BC. When completed, it stood 481 feet high and was the tallest building in the world for a staggering 3800 years.
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